Josh Wilding Reviews: AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #12
I awarded Avengers Vs. X-Men #1 a 5* rating. Does the final issue in the series match up? No. It is in fact so bad that my Marvel pull list will be much, MUCH shorter as the era of "Now!" begins. Hit the jump to read my verdict! [WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD]
It's hard to believe that Avengers Vs. X-Men #12 is written by Jason Aaron (Wolverine and the X-Men). It's just so...well, terrible! Despite being "double-sized", the final issue in the series is all over the place in terms of storytelling, and while it successfully sets the stage for Marvel NOW!, that's just about all it does do right. Say what you will about the way that Brian Michael Bendis handled the death of Charles Xavier, but it was at least handled well enough that we could believable buy into why Scott Summers would kill his former mentor and become "Dark Phoenix". Rather than following up on that, this issue features unnecessary flashbacks aplenty (it's as if they only just realised that they forgot to cover this material in previous instalments) and an unsatisfying final battle between Dark Phoenix and the Avengers which is sure to leave many fans cold. It's just a mess of a comic book and a lot of the dialogue is particularly cringe worthy.
A big part of what makes this issue so disappointing is Adam Kubtert's artwork. He's a capable artist, but not good enough to deliver the goods on an issue this important. If Olivier Coipel had lent his talents to this final instalment, it wouldn't be hard to imagine him elevating the mediocre script, but that's sadly not the case here. However, the main problem with Avengers Vs. X-Men #12 is how poorly written so many of the characters are. Wolverine once killed hundreds of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents under the influence of HYDRA and has murdered countless others besides. Here, Scott Summers is treated like the world's greatest villain after simply trying to make it a better place and killing ONE man under the influence of an uncontrollable COSMIC entity. And yet, the issue ends with a smirking Captain America standing over an imprisoned Cyclops as Wolverine arrogantly watches over. Unbelievable. Writers like Joss Whedon, Matt Fraction and Kieron Gillen have spent years building up the character of Cyclops, and that is now seemingly all undone. Had Marvel actually made him a believable villain (Gillen in particular has been foreshadowing his becoming like Magneto for a long, long time), then it would be acceptable, but as the issue ends, it's hard to understand why exactly he's being treated as he is making it all the more unsatisfying a read.
In hindsight, it should have been obvious that The Avengers would win. After all, they did just star in a $1.5 billion movie. Perish the thought that Marvel would want anyone reading the series to view THEM as the villains. However, whichever side you ultimately fall down on, there's no getting around the fact that the X-Men franchise has been left in a mess thanks to Avengers Vs. X-Men. With too many Avengers books to count on stands this Fall, the characters have become little more than part of that franchise. In fact, Marvel seem intent on returning us to the "good 'ol days" of the 90s. Clunky costumes (see Cable and X-Force) and an insane amount of variant covers - 18 and counting for Uncanny Avengers so far. Avengers Vs. X-Men started off strong and could have been something really special. Another Civil War or House of M. Unfortunately, not even this final issue manages to make up for the less than stellar moments of Act Two and Three. Even putting aside my own personal feelings about how poorly handled the event has been, it's a generally awful read. For anyone who knows and cares about these characters, you'll be left scratching your head at the way they have been handled here. It's just BAD. Oh, and the new Nova, a.k.a. Sam Alexander? Ugh...
An absolutely terrible end to a disappointing event, Avengers Vs. X-Men #12 fails to deliver a satisfying conclusion to the series. Despite a few half-decent character moments, this issue has left this particular fan saying "No Thanks" to Marvel NOW!.
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